Wednesday, March 25, 2020


with HUMILITY...the Only Way to Live


We continue moving deeper into Lent in these uncertain times hoisted upon us by invisible forces. Yet, like a violent wind, the impact of this adversary is everywhere evident at every level of society.  Benedict's Rule and the Sixth Key of Humility, "Serenity", invites us to see what "gifts" might be present in every circumstance in which we find ourselves, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Serenity can seem like a stretch when our minds are fragmented and anxiousness roils up within us disrupting our sleep, coherent thought, and even our ability to pray. All the more reason to center ourselves in Christ, to take stock of what truly is important and worthy of our time and energy.  No matter how we imagine ourselves to be in charge of the universe, or at least our own, a refresher course in reality can be a gift and Benedict's understanding of serenity can prove helpful.

The Sixth Key of Humility regarding serenity is very straightforward.  It reads: "Serenity is that we are content with the lowest and most menial treatment."  What does that mean?  The power of humility with serenity lies in its simple invitation to join the human race!  Without trappings.  Without gain.  Without expectations.  It means to stop comparing ourselves and our position in life over against all others we encounter.  No competition, no envy, no striving and consequently, no expending all our time and energy on things that have no lasting value!  It means no longer jockeying for superiority, status, praise, or preferential treatment, affording us an opportunity to simply be who we are - and where we are - nothing more, nothing less.  Serenity, gifts us with more life to learn from and give to and be thankful for.

The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4:11-13, "...for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty.  In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me."

In these times, life as we have measured it or our standard of worth has been called into serious question - can we find contentment in knowing that our one precious, valuable life comes from the Lord?  Can we offer it back to God for the sake of our families, friends, and society trusting that with God all things are possible?  Can we be content, trust that our Savior is with us?

So what possible gifts are there in the midst of a global pandemic?  How about an undeniable call to see that our actions DO impact our neighbor and that we have an opportunity to help keep others safe?  Isn't it a gift to actually spend time with your children or spouse eating meals, playing games, finding ways to help each other adapt to a new normal?   Isn't it a gift to take stock of all the people and things we have taken for granted on a daily basis so that we can do something to correct our behavior?   Truly, the list of gifts in this unprecedented time is endless.  Paul's secret is this: when a heart is filled with gratitude it is impossible NOT to be content - to experience serenity!

Nothing we do is ever as important as HOW we do it!  This is a good thing to remember as the Shelter in Place order mandated by our governor today changes life as we have known it even more.  Many will be struggling to adapt.  But if we purpose to  practice gratitude, do all we can out of love and the joy of serving Christ, our words and deeds will make a difference - yet another gift of serenity!

May your hearts be filled to overflowing with thanksgiving and the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding guard you hearts and minds!  Holy serenity!

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